Sprouting from the same mind that created the Books - one of the most acclaimed and innovative groups of the past decade - Zammuto marks a deep reinvention of the highly detailed, genre-defying spirit that made seminal albums such as The Lemon of Pink and The Way Out possible. Given the Books' success as an experimental collage-pop project, founder and namesake Nick Zammuto could have comfortably extended that thread. Instead he has given us a record that is progressive and forward-looking, intense and driven, with hugely varied rhythms and melodies. The whispered, folksy vocals that became a trademark of the Books are for the most part shed in favor of an uncharacteristically confident, soaring delivery, often fueled by a wide array of vocal effects. The result is a man-machine sensitivity that ultimately enhances the songs' emotional intensity. With dense and beautiful string arrangements by Gene Back (the Books) and brain-warping drum performances by Sean Dixon, the radical and varied sound of Zammuto leaps out of speakers with a searing directness.
Making music that sounds and feels like no one else is nothing new for Zammuto, but making music that doesn't even sound like his own past is a whole other impressive feat in itself.